“Community Schools Advocates Push for ‘Whole Child’ Focus in ESEA Update”

Community Schools Advocates Push for ‘Whole Child’ Focus in ESEA Update is a post from Education Week.

Here’s how it begins:

The Coalition for Community Schools has joined the ranks of stakeholders offering members of Congress their laundry list of dos and don’ts for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law.

On Monday morning, the coalition sent a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairman and ranking member of the Senate education committee, to emphasize the important role school-community partnerships should play in the overhaul of the federal education law.

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Community Schools.

“Four Ways to Improve Parent Involvement in K-12 Learning”

Four Ways to Improve Parent Involvement in K-12 Learning is a very good post at Education Week by Matthew Lynch.

It’s worth reading the entire post (it’s not very long), but here’s one of his “ways”:

1. Encourage collaboration. In general, parents who are supported by regular interactive meetings with teachers often show greater trust levels in teacher-parent relationships. Schools can create an environment favorable for the development of teacher-parent relationships by sharing the responsibility of improving learning processes and the academic performance of children. Many schools that claim to support collaborative decision-making patterns hold complete decision-making authority in their own hands, which can reduce the positive influence of collaborative decision-making pattern. Let parents feel empowered in the learning paths of their kids by allowing them certain input and choices.

“Parent Communication: Easy and Convenient Tools that Keep Parents Informed”

Parent Communication: Easy and Convenient Tools that Keep Parents Informed is a useful blog post from teacher Rachel Lynette’s blog. She offers suggestions of how she uses tech to connect with parents and, most importantly, shares some concrete examples.

I’m adding it to A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On Using Technology To Help Engage Parents.

Karen Lewis On Parents As Allies

Karen Lewis Talks Protests, Politics & Getting Back in the Mix is a great interview over at EdShyster’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt of Karen Lewis, from the Chicago Teachers Union, talking parents:

What I kept saying was that *we need to build alliances with our natural allies, who are the parents.* Once we start building alliances with parents, then we stop blaming each other. Right now the system has us blaming them for not doing their jobs and not preparing their kids for school, and has them blaming us for being lazy or not doing what we need to do. Building alliances makes a difference because you’re stronger, because people can’t just pick you off. I’ve always talked about trying to recreate the strength of the union by sharing it with other folks who lack power.

I’m adding it to The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame.

New National Parent Involvement Group Forms

You’ll definitely want to read the post, New National Group Aims to Advance Family-School Engagement Efforts, over at Education Week.

Here’s how it begins:

Some of the nation’s leading advocates and practitioners of family, school, and community engagement have joined forces to found a new organization to elevate their efforts to a higher level of influence in discussions about improving student achievement.

The new National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement (NAFSCE) hopes to lead efforts to garner much-needed financial and legislative support for an issue that many acknowledge is heralded as a crucial component of school improvement but is often neglected. The organization also will work to strengthen the network of family engagement experts and researchers nationwide to share best practices and develop more research-based policies in the field.

“Florida PTA Urges State to Make Changes to School Accountability System”

Florida PTA Urges State to Make Changes to School Accountability System is the headline of an Ed Week post.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Florida PTA issued a press release this week asking lawmakers and state Department of Education officials for the following:

Proper field-testing and test development in areas that mirror Florida’s diverse demographics;
A suspension of school letter grades until performance data is more reliable;
Additional testing and more flexible student performance calculations for students with disabilities and English-language learners; and
Use of multiple years of a new exam as the baseline for generating school grades and teacher evaluations.

“Duncan Urges PTA to Promote Education Issues in 2016 Presidential Election”

Duncan Urges PTA to Promote Education Issues in 2016 Presidential Election is the headline of a blog post this past week at Education Week.

It discusses one of the stops on U.S. Education Secretary Duncan’s annual bus tour at schools.

Here’s an excerpt:

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called on the National PTA Wednesday morning to make education a major campaign issue for the 2016 presidential election.

“I challenge you: In 2016, could we have a presidential debate around education?” Duncan asked a crowd of about 100 parents and teachers at the Oliver Middle School here. “Can the PTA force that debate?”

I’ve got to say that I’m not holding my breath. The PTA has a lot of potential power, but not anywhere near enough to force much of anything, and their political expertise is suspect, as was demonstrated in the last elections here in California.

But if they really did decide to become a serious player, I can think of far better things for them to do with their power than putting on a presidential debate….

I do hope, though, that they decide to eventually focus their efforts into community organizing….